Rocket's Kevin Poulin stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced Friday night in his team's loss.

Cole Koepke and Gemel Smith scored power-play goals to help the Syracuse Crunch to a 5-3 win over the Rocket in the opening game of their best-of-five Calder Cup North Division semifinal Friday at Upstate Medical University Arena.

Anthony Richard had two goals and an assist and Remi Elie scored the other goal for the Crunch.

Alex Belzile opened the scoring for Laval with a power-play goal and scored at 6:28 of the third period to cut the Syracuse lead to 4-3, but Richard  sealed the victory with an empty-net goal. Joël Teasdale had Laval’s other goal. Sami Niku assisted on all three Laval goals.

Kevin Poulin stopped 26 of 30 shots for Laval, while Max Lagace made 28 saves for Syracuse.

The series resumes Saturday in Syracuse before moving to Place Bell in Laval for games Thursday and, if necessary, next Saturday afternoon. If a fifth game is needed, it will be played n Syracuse on May 17.

phickey@postmedia.com

twiter.com/zababes1

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